Some organizations lack clarity about who approves the project change requests. On one project, the sponsor tells the project manager to make the decisions. On other projects, the sponsor makes the decisions. And yet, in other cases, senior management gets involved.
Your project may morph into a two-headed monster without an integrated change control process, resulting in adverse impacts to schedule, cost, and scope. It’s critical that you define how change requests will be reviewed, approved or declined.
So, who should approve project change requests? There’s no one right answer.
Several variables should be considered when determining who will approve change requests such as:
If your organization has a Project Management Office (PMO), consult this group for standards and change control processes. If not, you basically have three options.
You may find it beneficial to use a hybrid approach that includes both the project sponsor and the project manager. One scenario would be that the project manager approves change requests except for certain situations. For example, the project sponsor is involved for the following:
I find that most agile practitioners welcome change more than traditional project managers, even late in development. Whether you use an agile or traditional approach, you still need to define your change control process. Typically the Product Owner approves the change requests with input from key stakeholders. Change requests that impact active sprints are usually approved for implementation in a subsequent sprint.
If the project is being undertaken to create products and services for a customer, the customer will likely approve the change requests. One way to handle this situation is to include the customer on the Change Control Board. Another way is to have periodic steering team meetings where the senior leaders of the performing organization and the customer review and approve the project change requests together.
Question: What other ways have you seen organizations approve project change requests?